HC Deb 12 April 1965 vol 710 cc943-4
25. Mr. Dean

asked the Minister of Labour what steps he proposes to take to provide greater facilities for sheltered employment for those who have recovered from mental illness but are not able to return to their former employment.

Mr. Marsh

Provision for former mental patients who are not capable of working in ordinary industry can normally best be made as part of the provision of sheltered employment facilities for the severely disabled in general. However, my right hon. Friend would be prepared to consider on its merits any request for assistance in establishing special facilities for the mentally ill.

Mr. Dean

I am grateful for that information. Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that this problem is, unhappily, growing because of the pace of modern working life? Will he consider the possibility of extra assistance to firms which specialise in this type of work to encourage them to take on rather more and thereby provide increased opportunities for sheltered employment for those who have recovered from mental illness?

Mr. Marsh

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will not give the impression—I am sure that he does not want to—that mental patients who have been treated and recover must of necessity find sheltered employment. The main thing is to get as many as possible back to ordinary employment, although that may well be different from the employment they previously held.

Mr. Wilkins

Will my hon. Friend follow the example of one of his predecessors and visit the Industrial Therapy Organisation in Bristol with a view to encouraging its extension throughout the country?

Mr. Marsh

The Industrial Therapy Organisation is a very interesting development. It is being assisted financially by the Ministry at present and we will certainly watch its progress very carefully.